Courageous, Confident or Just Plain Crazy!..Driving tips for Ireland from a Canadian Girl

“If you believe you can-YOU WILL!”

 Upon returning safely from a 3 week trip to Ireland, I thought I would share a few driving tips. 

Being a Canadian girl, traveling alone in Ireland…  

Driving on the ‘left side’ of the road- was my biggest fear. 

Do one thing a day that scares you!  Check!

Do one thing a day that scares you! Check!

However, I am a stubborn Virgo and my desire to see the countryside on my own timeline…outweighed my fear.   I was praying to find a cute Irish driver to drive me around, but apparently that was not in my divine plan.

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It was just me, my rental car, GPS and a few trusty road maps.  

With a quick lesson on a deserted beach under my belt- I headed out. 

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Driving lesson on the Beach

Reminding myself that people drive in Ireland everyday.  I am proud to report… I survived the challenge and conquered my fear. 

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I have to say I was never more PRESENT in my LIFE!

Happily, I returned my rental car without a scratch, covered many miles, saw beautiful vista’s, almost on one tank of Diesel.

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My Rental Car- Safely returned

If you’re planning a road trip to Ireland…Read on.

Tips before you leave-

  • ·      GET a GPS- it will be your best friend
  • ·      Bring a CDW Insurance travel letter-if you have coverage on your credit card
  • ·      Bring music or buy a good Irish music CD-Irish radio talk is endless and not very soothing for the nervous soul.  

Most of the rental cars in Ireland are manual- Shift on the Left.  Pedals and Clutch are the same as in North America.  Automatic Transmissions are available, but harder to find and more expensive.  I rented my car before I left through Costco online and brought a travel letter from my visa company to wave the insurance.  If you’re not covered… I highly recommend getting the insurance.  The roads are rather narrow and the tour buses are very large.  Don’t be scared.   If I survived, so can you!  

Here are my Tips… 

  • ·      Put the correct spelling in GPS- A 1 letter slip up sent me the opposite direction.
  • ·      Make sure Rental car has insurance, floor mats and a good old fashion road map- it rains a lot in Ireland and a missing floor mat makes for a very slippery clutch.  Learned this the hard way.
  • ·      Gas- for you and the car.  Road snacks and proper hydration
  • ·      Stay LEFT- LOOK RIGHT, TURN LEFT… repeat, repeat.
  • ·      Always keep body to middle of road or white line to middle of road
  • ·      Learn Roundabouts- Trick: you can ride them around and around if you miss your exit.  I also heard the locals do stop and wait, if you happen to go the wrong direction.
  • ·      For the most part Trust your GPS- It will reroute you, however when in doubt or in the middle of nowhere.  STOP and ASK a local for directions.  Remember all roads eventually lead somewhere…unless the road is closed…reroute via a local.  The Irish are very kind, patient and more than willing to help.
  • ·      Use side mirrors to gauge the edge of the road. 
  • ·      Back into parking stalls whenever possible.
  • ·      Travel early to avoid Tour buses.
  • ·      Have money for toll roads on the M50.
  •        Give yourself ample time.  Time pressures create stress and not a clear mind.
  • ·      Practice YOGA.  Breath Deeply, Fully Exhale.  Relax shoulders and fingers.  Stretch occasionally.  Pull over and cry when necessary.  Set intention for safety and good weather.  Expect a few roadblocks. 

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    Bonus: The sheep do not move.

My Mantra’s

  • ·      If you believe you can, you will!
  • ·      I am a good driver… I will get to my destination safely.
  • ·      All roads lead to somewhere. 

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Benefits of driving on the opposite side:

  • Increased Alertness & Awareness= Present Moment Living
  • Challenge your fears.  Success= Empowerment
  • ·           Senses are heightened.

Go dté sibh slán…May you go safely

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Enjoy the beauty!

Michelle

Bonus tip:  Bring a 3 prong adapter.

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Adapter for your electronics.

 

 

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Confetti Trees, Color and Creativity

“I think this is how we are supposed to be in the world-Present and in Awe.” ~Anne Lamott

Encaustic Confetti Tree

Encaustic Confetti Tree

Summer Camp 2015 Last week I had the honor of working with 8 brilliant Art Students ranging from 7-12 years old. I embrace the endless energy youth have and wish I could capture it in a pill bottle. One week later, as I wake from a nap, I wonder if they are tired this week? Not likely. They are probably drawing up a storm…on to the next task. Despite my praying for perfect weather we had a few storms during the week. (Luckily none in the studio, just a few outside). A little rain, hail, wind followed by sunshine again.

I had a schedule for the week, but learned long ago to not get too attached to the schedule. As weather changes, one must adapt. Similar to painting… have a basic plan and be prepared to let go of the plan. This is often were the magic happens and if all else fails you get an interesting experience followed by the pleasure of either throwing out or painting over your less desired experience…both refreshing outcomes. The rain was refreshing. It kept us cool and did not slow down the process of doing our work. In fact, as a result, we had more studio time. Question: “Bike riding or art?” Reply: “We’d rather PAINT” I am in the presence of true artists. They know what they want.IMG_2168IMG_2230

We started everyday with yoga. “Sit up tall, breathe in, breathe out, notice how you feel,” I instructed.  A chance to reconnect with ourselves first, then each other and ultimately everything else that surrounds us. Taking the time to let the snow globe of the mind settle…good for creativity. Learning to rest and stay still is a practice.

So we practice… Day 1-The stillness is always a little tough at first, but the benefits are felt and respected quickly. Day 2- Free our minds as we strengthen, stretch and rest our little bodies. Day 3- 5 min into the practice Savasana (Corpse pose) is the favorite requested pose.                 Day 4- 20 min of silence- painting mandala rocks by candlelight was no problem.                     Day 5 -30 min Yoga Nidra inside while it rained outside. Who doesn’t love to be covered in a blanket with lavender scented eye pillows and have a relaxing story read to them?

IMG_2156 IMG_2353 This group of girls painted for more hours this week, then I can paint in a week. Their attention span, focus and dedication surpassed my wildest expectations. When they took a break from art activities, Chinese skipping was the preferred game. Remember “MISSISSIPPI”?? Great Cardio fun, efficiently taking the edge off built up energy.

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Chinese Skipping

It is always amazing to see the students subjective color preference and how each piece of artwork, all in different mediums create a perfect collection, representing the artists unique style. Their favorite color and love of their family was very apparent in their chosen words of intention. Watching them throw the paint around, literally and not worrying too much where it landed. Seeing the joy on their faces when they learned a new technique that made their masterpieces come alive.

Encaustic Painting

Encaustic Painting

IMG_2336IMG_2343 Teamwork and community support was a stand out quality 5 STARS all around. Brilliant guest artists added variety and expertise. My most favorite reflection was that week ran by seamlessly. Moving from project to project, playing with wax, paint, pastels, watercolor, clay, ink was all done with a “Go For IT” attitude. We began with dream collages ending with dream catchers. By the time Friday arrived we had quite a collection of artwork to display.

Dream catchers

Dream catchers

IMG_2368IMG_2367 Friday morning was raining…Hard…But we agreed the show must go on. We finished the dream catchers. Made and ate our pizza, decorated the cupcakes for our guests. Then worked quickly to set up the show with a sense of pride. I was thankful that the girls thrived on being given a task. They quickly achieved their task and worked well together. Lots of small hands, makes light work.

Artists getting ready for show

Artists getting ready for show

Look what we did!

Look what we did!

Art Show

Art Show

12 year old Artist

12 year old Artist

9 year old Artist

9 year old Artist

The final show was a parade of proud artists sharing their accomplishments of the week with the ones they love. Reminding me that achieving a goal is always better when you share it with others. I am blessed… Michelle “Wherever your heart is, that is where you’ll find your treasure.” ~ Paulo Coelho IMG_2320 **Special Thanks to Brenda Walker http://www.brendawalker-art.com and Shauna Mireault for being our guests and sharing their love of art!